The Vintage Ball had it all...

The Derry of a bygone era was recreated with style and sophistication at Saturday’s hugely successful Grand Vintage Ball at the Venue.

Ladies of all ages in flowing vintage gowns and uniformed GI Joe’s, 1920s flappers to 1950s swing dresses and a legion of local gentlemen looking booted, suited and dapper - the Vintage Ball had it all!

Arriving at Saturday's big Grand Vintage Ball are, from left, Emma McCrory, Marie Browne, Tracey McErlean and Carmel McGeady. (0705PG72)

Arriving at Saturday's big Grand Vintage Ball are, from left, Emma McCrory, Marie Browne, Tracey McErlean and Carmel McGeady. (0705PG72)

The atmosphere inside the colossal Venue was electric from the outset, with locals and visitors to the city arriving in style and marvelling and everyone else around them. Gushing compliments in free flow, the evening was a superb excuse to get all dolled up, sparkly and bejewelled in the vintage and retro fashions and dance to the tunes of yesteryear.

Top marks to the night’s organisers, both at the Culture Company and Bedlam, who were tasked with dressing the Venue with so many finishing touches and making it fit for a Vintage Ball. It surpassed all expectations.

However, one couldn’t escape the feeling that the entire ball and its thousands of revellers were lost in the sheer scale of their surroundings. The volume of the music remained below the norm and never did reach its full potential, and many I spoke to described it like “dancing in an aeroplane hangar”. So organisers should perhaps consider using our own ‘vintage’ and historically important buildings, like my own favourite building St Columb’s Hall, with its own grandeur and gravitas, the Playhouse or even the Guildhall, should the ball ever be repeated.

Musically, the crowd were kept on their toes all evening with a succession of super entertainment. From the irresistible tunage of much-loved Sandinos DJs to the old-fashioned vibes of the Puppini Sisters, it all made for a fantastic evening and our (twinkle-toed) feet barely touched the ground all night long.

It is a difficult task to attract a truly all-ages crowd - but the Grand Vintage Ball achieved just that on Saturday night. The dance floor saw people aged 8-80 years-old tripping the light fantastic. And I, for one, looked on in amazement at the older generations around me, jiving and bopping for hours - and showing us younger ones exactly how it’s done!

All in all, a massive success for the Culture year and for the city as a whole. Such a shame the night ended prematurely, as all events at the Venue tend to... we could have danced all night and still have begged for more...